Developing the New Columbia Core Curriculum: A Case Study in Managing Radical Curriculum Change

Galea, Sandro; Fried, Linda P.; Walker, Julia R.; Rudenstine, Sasha; Glover, Jim W.; Begg, Melissa D.
March 2015
American Journal of Public Health;2015 Supplement, Vol. 105, pS17
Academic Journal
Curricular change is essential for maintaining vibrant, timely, and relevant educational programming. However, major renewal of a long-standing curriculum at an established university presents many challenges for leaders, faculty, staff, and students. We present a case study of a dramatic curriculum renewal of one of the nation’s largest Master of Public Health degree programs: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. We discuss context,motivation for change, the administrative structure established to support the process, data sources to inform our steps, the project timeline, methods for engaging the school community, and the extensive planning that was devoted to evaluation and communication efforts. We highlight key features that we believe are essential for successful curricular change.


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